What will the Internet be like 40 years from now?

by Jack Seay - October 8, 2005- freely distributable

Certainly it will not look like the current brain-dead world-wide web. It is likely to look like the Xanadu hypertext software designed 40 years ago by the visionary Ted Nelson. He envisioned:

  1. Being able to edit everything any number of times, but without losing the original document or other versions. This is very unlike wikis; where identities, ownership, and integrity of documents are uncertain and easily destroyed.
  2. Creating composite documents, drawing from any available source, without having to ask permission, and all original creators get paid, if they wish, for every re-use of their material. This happens automatically and invisibly.
  3. Links between documents will be bi-directional and unbreakable, even after they are edited. Links will not break merely by changing names of documents, or moving them to different directories. Links will be of varied types, and between any spans of a document.

These are foundational qualities that need to be the basis of all other software and the Internet of the future.

There are many other new programs with highly desirable features:

eBay and Paypal: secure, fairly simple payments and reputation tracking

Amazon: links to related items and reviews

iTunes: easy to purchase digitized music, audiobooks, and music videos; listening to and viewing podcasts, numerous other great features

iPod: simple interface to listen to and view media

Google Maps: pan and zoom the world from space on your computer

Second Life: virtual reality - here and now, with building 3D objects and text chatting in a collaborative environment with people from all over the world

the gesture interface software as seen in the movie, Minority Report Also see the TactaPad

and many more

These would be so much better built on top of the Xanadu-zigzag foundation.